P19280: Hot Wheelz


Project Summary Project Information


Hot Wheelz is a RIT Formula SAE team that has created all electric and hybrid vehicles to present in competition for the past three years. Each year is filled with new ideas and designs that are constantly changing and being optimized because of additional experience with previous vehicle performance and rules. One of the consistent design challenges that has occured in past iterations of the vehicle has been working around restrictions of the motor controller.

There are a wide range of commercial motor controllers on the market that vary in complexity and performance to suit a variety of teams and their needs. However each particular controller has a very rigid set of capabilities that must then be accommodated for in other aspects of design. A controler that is optimal in one aspect is not always optimal in other ways.

Project Description

The main consideration in choosing a motor controller is integration and compatibility with the motor and batteries. After compiling a list of compatible controllers, it is not always possible to find one with the other desired features, such as CANbus connectivity, maximum current and voltage draws, regenerative braking capabilities, precharge capabilities, or ideal number of input/ output pins. The options become limited quickly and compromises must be made between features. Unfortunately these commercial motor controllers not modifiable because of the “black box” nature of the products. This has lead to repurchasing of motor controllers each year, which is expensive and time consuming to research. It would be beneficial for the team to have a motor controller that is modifiable and can be reused each year regardless of changes made to the vehicle.

Another goal that will be accomplished is to fully understand the system we are using on the car. The motor controller is arguably one of the most important components on the car, and the team is unfortunately still ignorant of the actual process of the controller. By taking time to research and design this component, the team can meet every design criteria and allow future cars to add additional components when needed. By creating a basic coding structure and setting up the system with extra I/O pins, future work can be eliminated by allowing the team to reuse the base code and spend more time improving the existing content.

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The link to the PRP is here

Project Name
Hot Wheelz Motor Controller
Project Number
Project Family
Performance Vehicles
Start Term
End Term
Faculty Guide
Harold Paschal, Paschal@alum.rit.edu
Primary Customer
Martin Schooping, Kathleen Lamkin-Kennard
Sponsor (financial support)
RIT Hot Wheelz Team
Supplemental funding provided by a gift from Harris Corporation

Team Members

From Top Left: Rachel, MacKenzie, Jordan, Katie, Jenny, Sam

From Top Left: Rachel, MacKenzie, Jordan, Katie, Jenny, Sam

Member Role Contact
Jenny Genovese Lead Integrator jmg2070@rit.edu
Jordan Mack Lead Mechanical Engineer jmm7866@rit.edu
Katie Ward Lead Electrical Engineer kxw9115@rit.edu
MacKenzie Woodhouse Communication mgw6818@rit.edu
Rachel Mock Purchasing rcm4185@rit.edu
Sam Poeppelman Project Manager sdp8939@rit.edu

Work Breakdown: By Phase


Planning & Execution

Project Photos and Videos

Imagine RIT

Gate Reviews

Problem Definition

Systems Design

Preliminary Detailed Design

Detailed Design

Build & Test Prep

Subsystem Build & Test

Integrated System Build & Test

Customer Handoff & Final Project Documentation (Verification & Validation)


Thank you to Marty, Kathi, Sarah, Harold, and the Hot Wheelz team!